It is appealing to individuals and organisations to get involved in its 16 Days campaign to highlight the issue. Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said one in five Irish women suffers domestic violence and victims cross all classes and religious backgrounds.
She said: “Without exception, a woman’s greatest risk of violence is from someone she knows. Domestic violence is a violation of a woman’s right to safety, freedom and all too often her right to life itself.
“When we think about human rights abuses, we tend to think of the prisoner of conscience in a far-off land, the actions of an oppressive regime or genocide.
“But human rights abuses also apply to the violence women experience from those nearest to them.”
The grim statistics reveal the violence has exacted a terrible price:
n Women’s Aid received 12,000 calls last year.
n Some 1,952 women and 2,985 children had to live in refuges in 2006.
n A child witnessing domestic violence suffers a form of emotional abuse.
n A total of 146 women have been murdered in the Republic since the beginning of 1996.
n Some 92 were murdered in their own homes.
n Of the 107 solved cases, half of the women were murdered by a partner or ex-partner.
n Women who have suffered domestic violence are at increased risk of depression and suicide.
n On average, a woman will be assaulted by her partner 35 times before reporting it.
During the 16 Days campaign, which begins on November 24, volunteers are being asked to distribute special postcards or raise the issue with local TDs.